Soliman, Agdao residents lose homes over road project

Apr. 12, 2024

DAVAO CITY, Philippines -Another demolition happened in Soliman Street in Agdao 12 years after that infamous incident where then Mayor Sara Duterte punched a sheriff in the height of tension.

But this time, there was no tension nor punches thrown, but some 58 households in Soliman cry that they are thrown out of the streets with no clear relocation plans given by the Davao City Government.

Edilina Romero, president of the Soliman Block 2 and 3 Homeowners Association, said the 58 houses are being demolished due to a road-widening project under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) XI.  They received the order from the city government on February as their houses were considered “illegal structures”.

Romero stressed that the city government failed to provide the residents with an area for relocation as the demolition proceeded at 8:30 Thursday morning of April 11 starting with residents who had received payment from the city government for compensation and resettlement.

But of the 58 households, 22 did not agree to receive payment as the amount was lower than the agreement made with DPWH.

Enrique Ferarin, past president of the association said the initial offer from DPWH ranging from P300,000 to P800,000 per house was changed in a meeting with Attorney Arsenio Caballero, Jr. from the City Legal Office.

“We had a dialogue at the City Planning (Office) with Atty. Caballero, after which he told us to wait for our turn to go in to see how much we can receive.  When it was my turn, I was supposed to receive P600,000 but I only got P150,000,” Ferarin said in Cebuano.

He said that the amount offered by the city government is not enough to purchase a lot for their relocation and fund the construction of their homes.

Romero and Ferarin said they will comply with the demolition order but the city government with one request.

“We had told them before we will not resist, but we request that we see the blueprint so we can know know the extent of the road construction and how many houses that would be affected,” Romero said.

The group had earlier met with Mayor Sebastian Duterte on April 3 and requested to postpone the demolition until a relocation could be provided.  They said the mayor initially agreed, but on the next day, a staff approached them informing them that the mayor could not stop the scheduled demolition.

The association showed a photo of the road construction area titled “road concreting” along the junctions of Soliman Street and Leon Garcia Street. 

The project worth P77.9 million is under the contractor Monolithic Construction and Concrete Products which supposedly was to start its construction on January 2022 but was delayed because of the ongoing negotiation.

In 2012, some 200 households were demolished after a local business bought the land.  No new structures from the business was put in place.

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